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"Stonehearst Asylum": Treating the Insane‚ But Which Ones Are They?! 

Tuesday, Oct 21 2014
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Brad Anderson's Stonehearst Asylum is a horror movie with no appreciable horror, and a thriller largely bereft of thrills. It even manages to waste David Thewlis as a bad guy, which by all rights should be impossible. In the final weeks of December 1899, idealistic young medical student Edward (Jim Sturgess) travels to the remote and tres gothic Stonehearst Asylum to learn the ropes of the 18th century mental health. Shown around by Dr. Lamb (Ben Kingsley), Edward wastes no time creeping on a patient named Eliza (Kate Beckinsale), and never stops throughout the rest of the movie, even though she asks him to back off. (Constantly fawned over for her bone structure, Eliza exhibits a proto-feminism which is simultaneously the most anachronistic and most satisfying part of the picture.) Alas, things are not what they seem, and someone even gets to say "The lunatics are running the asylum!" without it being metaphorical. The hell of it is, Stonehearst Asylum starts off strongly, with a prologue that exhibits a style that the rest of the film sadly lacks; Sturgess is a tepid leading man, and the picture never develops a sense of dread. And, a note to filmmakers: Yes, we know Kate Beckinsale is pretty. You don't have to keep reminding us.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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